Yarn sounds traditional, and in many ways, it is. You can trace it back some 7,000 years. However, yarn is also at the forefront of innovative manufacturing.
It has various cutting edge technical and industrial applications, including the development of versatile smart textiles.
Smart textiles add value to the wearer, they provide something more, and they are an excellent enabler of wearable technology.
Making technology work with fabrics favours the end-user, and can accelerate the whole process of development, and help bring finished products to market
Innovative yarn technology can incorporate sensors and create fabric that is electrically conductive.
This extends the internet of things into new areas, and brings with it a huge new potential.
Whether it’s providing a means of performance monitoring, or enhancement; or conducting energy or enabling communication, smart clothing adds value to the wearer.
It helps redefine it as something active that nonetheless still serves the user.
Broadly speaking, smart fabrics are either aesthetic or performance-related. Aesthetically they can change colour, or respond to heat. Performance wise, they already have a firm foothold in the sports sector, and have a growing influence elsewhere, including in military applications.
These fabrics can regulate body temperature, provide wind resistance and control muscular vibrations.
They go hand in hand with wearable technology, giving developers the means to more immediately, and easily, integrate concepts into practical, wearable items.
The Potential for Smart Textiles
There will need to be changes in attitudes and applications to fully realise the potential of smart textiles, but already their use is on the increase.
There are now garments for firefighters which can monitor core body heat and respiratory rate. There are even smart socks infused with sensors to detect foot pressure.
In terms of tangible benefits, smart textiles could play a much larger role in medical applications, being used to monitor chronic conditions of wearers, such as diabetes or heart issues
This could then offer huge opportunities for savings for health providers, and revolutionise the way they monitor outpatients, and communicate with them, while keeping track of live records.
While some of this may sound a little distant and futuristic, in fact, the reality of it is currently taking shape around us.
Yarns contribute enormously to the development of smart textiles and wearable technology, and this is an area with huge market potential.
If you have an innovative project which could benefit from smart textiles, contact us at Harding Specialty Fibers.